What makes an enduring fandom? From Star Trek and Star Wars, to Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, what makes a fandom lasting and persisting? Why do some fandoms garner such a huge following, while other fandoms simply fall away? I think there are many factors, but for me, two of the biggest draws are the story and the characters. If those two factors are solid, I think a fandom has a chance of lasting a good long time.
Category Archives: This Week in Geek
This Week in Geek Jan 31-Feb 6
Another week is in the books, and we are bringing back our “This Week in Geek” feature. In this feature we are going to take a look at a few of the stories that happened this week in the world of Geek. We aren’t a news site, so this won’t necessarily be a comprehensive list, just a few highlights. If you see a story throughout the week that you think should be featured here, then send it along to me and I will include it. You can send it directly to email@example.com. Alright, let’s get to This Week in Geek.
This Week in Geek: Civil War
It’s old news by now that Captain America 3 will be loosely based on the Civil War Story line from Marvel Comics. It has become one of the more highly anticipated non-Avengers movie in the MCU lineup. It is a story line that should see Captain America and his supporters facing off against Iron Man and his supporters. For those that are unfamiliar with the comics story line let me summarize it for you. It starts out with a young superhero group known as The New Warriors. They are superheroes and reality TV stars. On one particular adventure near Stamford, Connecticut, one of the bad guys-Nitro- goes off causing an explosion that destroys miles of the area they are in, killing a bunch of people. Included in that area was a school and 60 kids die. This leads to congress passing the Super Human Registration act, requiring all super humans to register so the government can more closely monitor/control their actions. This also means that their secret identities would become public. At this time, Tony Stark is running SHIELD, and he ends up supporting the act. He believes that someone should be regulating all the super beings and their powers and what they do with them. He is obviously not concerned with his own secret identity (secret identities, with a few exceptions, are not as big a deal in Marvel as they are in DC). Cap opposes the act. He feels like it is taking away the rights of the super powered beings, and even though he has no secret identity, he understands how that is a protection to some of the other heroes. Cap and Iron Man become the de facto leaders of each side and the whole Marvel Universe is split on the issue of super human registration.
Those familiar with this story line in the comics had some idea of how the Civil War movie was going to play out. Obviously, the film was not going to follow the story line exactly, but the broader story could work out. This last week Marvel announced that Captain America: Civil War was beginning principal photography in preparation for its May 2016 release. Along with its announcement that the shooting was beginning, Marvel also announced who was going to be in the film and how the basic story line would play out. You can find all those details here.
If you look at the list, at first glance, it looks like the whole MCU will be in this movie, but there are a few notable names left off the list. Nick Fury, Maria Hill, The Hulk, and Thor are all missing from the list of cast members. Some have called this film “Avengers 2.5,” but it will be a very different Avengers team if these characters will in fact be missing from the film. It looks like Daredevil will also not be making his debut on the big screen with Civil War. Also missing is Spider-Man. The final decision on who will be the MCU’s Spider-Man has not been made, so just because he is not listed here does not mean he won’t be in the film. They are probably waiting to make that announcement separately.
There were also some interesting names on the list. Most intriguing is General Ross. We haven’t seen him since he was hunting after Edward Norton as the Hulk. It’s been a while. What makes his inclusion even more interesting is that Hulk is not on the list. So why is ol’ Thunderbolt going to show up? Maybe we will be seeing a Hulk in the film, he just won’t be green. Martin Freeman is also listed, but not who he is playing. I honestly have no idea who he will be playing in the film. I don’t even know where to begin to guess, but I do wonder if it will be similar to Robert Redford’s character- someone we have never heard of before. Black Panther and Ant-Man are both listed in the film, so it will be interesting to see where they fit in. The other really interesting character is the Winter Soldier. What will his role be in the movie? In any case, it is a very impressive list of characters.
We also get an idea of how the actual story will play out. Instead of the New Warriors being involved in the incident that leads to the Super Human Registration act, it will be the new Avengers team. This makes sense, since we have never seen the New Warriors in the MCU. Plus, from a lot of the rumors we are hearing, the new Avengers will be the primary team in the Infinity War Part 1, so it makes sense to have them working together before that, and this movie is a perfect opportunity to play that out. It will also be interesting to see which of the characters will end up on which side. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out leading into Phase 3, how it will set the phase up and what the after effects will be.
What do you think of the cast and story announced for Civil War? Are you excited to see how it all comes together, or are you afraid it may be too many characters to cram into one movie? Let me know in the comments.
This Week in Geek: Leonard Nimoy Passes at Age 83
Leonard Nimoy was an icon. I can’t think of any other way to describe him. There are a few faces that are instantly recognizable as the characters they play in a movie or a TV series. Leonard Nimoy was Spock, and Spock was a character that meant so much yo so many. I was saddened to hear that he had passed away on Friday, but I was also grateful for everything he left behind. His body of work, particularly in the Star Trek universe, will remain a source of inspiration for countless geek generations to come.
I have been thinking of the last day or so about what made Spock so important, what made him stand out. I think one thing that made him stand out was that Star Trek was the first really successful Science Fiction television series. There was no such thing as a “fandom” before Star Trek. It was a series that changed the whole landscape of Science Fiction and it laid a foundation for every franchise that followed. It has endured through all this time. The original series wasn’t appreciated enough as it originally aired, being cancelled after only 3 seasons, but with time it caught on and the fan base, which was extremely loyal, grew. Spock was a big part of that.
Was he a bigger part of the success than Kirk? For me, the answer is yes. Spock was the original outsider looking in. Each Star Trek series has had this type of character. For TNG it was Data, for DS9 it was Odo, and for Voyager it was the Doctor. These were characters who showed us what it meant to be human from the outside looking in, and helped us understand our selves better. More than that, as geeks we all felt like outsiders at some point in our lives. These characters gave us hope that we could belong. Spock was basically the high school nerd or geek, and somehow he was hanging out with the captain of the football team.
Spock was so different from the rest of the crew, relying on his logic, instead of his emotions, which helped us understand our own emotions. Spock, of course, would not have been Spock if not for the masterful way that Nimoy played the character. I don’t think it is easy to appreciate how hard it is to play a character like Spock, who doesn’t feel or emote, and to keep it up as well as Nimoy did. He embodied Spock and I don’t think anyone could play the character as well as he did over 49 years in the role. He became one of those actors that people had a hard time separating from his role. For many fans, there was no difference in their minds between Leonard Nimoy and Spock. Rarely, does an actor embody a role like that.
One of the great things about Nimoy was that he embraced that aspect of playing Spock. He embraced the fans and was always appreciative of their support. Star Trek fans are known to be a bit obsessive, and it would be easy, especially as he got older, to pull away and not want to speak with the fans. Nimoy didn’t do this. As he got older, his health began to get worse, but he still found ways to connect to the fans. In September of 2014, health prevented Mr. Nimoy from physically visiting fans in Salt Lake City, Utah who were attending Salt Lake Comic Con. That didn’t stop him, however, as he visited with those fans via Skype:
Leonard Nimoy’s passing on February 27, 2015 brought a great amount of sadness to the geek world. It also brought a great amount of gratitude and appreciation. All of a sudden dress colors didn’t matter anymore on the internet. Remembering a treasured performer became more important. I think most geeks out there have some connection to Leonard Nimoy. He was one of the greats, and we will be able to look at the huge amount of work he did, both on the screen and off, and appreciate this man for years and years to come. The magnitude of his career will never be fully appreciated or understood. I can say, without question, I would not be here today writing this post or keeping this blog. I know my blog is really small and insignificant, but I think there are a lot of geeks and geeky franchises that can make the same claim. Leonard Nimoy influenced so much in the world of geek, that it would be hard to find any facet that wasn’t touched or affected by this man. He was an icon.
To close out this post, I can think of only one way. I wanted to share the funeral scene for Spock from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. That and to say, Live Long and Prosper.
This Week in Geek: Could a Black Spider-Man Work?
Since the big announcement came down a few weeks ago, the internet has been swirling with excitement and speculation. One thing that has been on everyone’s minds has been who will be playing Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? We know so far that Andrew Garfield is out, and that’s about it. One question that keeps coming up is whether Marvel should cast an African-American for the role of Spider-Man. The way I figure it, there are two things really pushing this. One is that Donald Glover joked about being the first black Spider-man back in 2011. Of course, at that time, Andrew Garfield was cast for the role. Now that he’s out, this has all come up again, many fans of Glover’s would like to see it happen. The other big thing pushing all of this is the cult following that Miles Morales has in the comics as Spider-Man in the Ultimate Universe. I have nothing against Miles Morales being Spider-Man in the Ultimate Comics, or if they wanted to put him in a movie. But they won’t. It will be Peter Parker, because that is what everyone knows, that’s what everyone expects. Miles is not as well-known as Spider- Man, so I think it would be a big gamble to go with him. It doesn’t mean that Miles Morales movie wouldn’t be as good, or even better than a new round of Peter Parker movies, it just wouldn’t be as profitable. Hollywood doesn’t make movies just to tell good stories. They make movies to make money. Peter Parker sells, Miles is unproven and untested. That’s what it comes down to.
That being said, why can’t Peter Parker be African-American? What about Peter Parker is tied to his race? I understand, in the comics, he has always been white, but what about him would be dramatically altered if he were African-American or Asian or Hispanic? What would change about the character? That is a gamble I think I wouldn’t mind Marvel taking. They have already said that their Spider-Man would be Peter Parker, but could Pete be black? Fox is taking that chance with the Human Torch in the upcoming Fantastic Four film, and I think it will work fine. Let’s talk a look at what makes Peter Parker/Spider-Man who he is.
High School Student
Granted, Pete’s not in High School anymore in the comics, but this is the direction Disney/Marvel wants to go, and it is an area where Spidey works well- balancing his school work and his home life and his love life with saving the world. Peter Parker in High School works well, and having him be a young kid in the movies will be fun to see as he interacts with fully grown superheroes like Cap and Iron Man. Here’s an interesting fact, African-American kids, like white kids, go to high school. This particular part of the character would work whether he is black or white. In fact, it is working in the ultimate Comics version.
Peter Parker was always kind of a brainiac. That’s always been a part of who he is. He enjoys science and all of that stuff. I mean, he was the one who developed his webbing and how to shoot the webbing from his wrists. There is a long history of him even being able to hold his own with Tony Stark and Reed Richards. This is another aspect of his character that is definitely not tied to race. Anyone can be smart, anyone can be into science. You don’t have to be any kind of race or gender or anything like that. He would be just as believable as a young African-American kid who is into science as he would be as a white kid.
Strong Family Ties
Peter is always concerned about his Aunt Mae. He wants her to safe, he wants to protect her. He wants to help her by doing stuff around the house or whatever. He recognizes how much work she does to take care of him. He also has always had a strong tie to his deceased uncle, Ben Parker. We know that what happens to Ben is what really propels him into being Spider-Man. None of that would have to change if they cast a Black Peter Parker. These kinds of ties to family and emotions and what not are not exclusive to any one race.
Sarcastic Sense of Humor
One of my favorite attributes of Spider-Man is that he is always cracking wise as he is fighting the super villains. He is witty and funny and it just makes for a more entertaining read. This was something I thought Andrew Garfield portrayed better than anyone. His Spider-Man was almost irreverent with some of his humor, but it worked, and I liked it. Again, this is something that works regardless of race or skin color. Your sense of humor is not tied to your race. It’s just not. I have seen funny people of all races, and I have seen really not at all funny people of all races. Race simply does not matter here.
Spidey has one of the biggest hearts of any superhero out there. He really is just out there to help out the little guy. He goes out, day after day and puts his life on the line to protect people and to help people. I mean every superhero does that in the comics, but with Spidey, somehow it’s something more. He really does simply because he wants to help and he feels like with his powers he can help. How does this make him white or Black or anything? It doesn’t. Big hearted, generous people come from all races and all walks of life. Race is not a factor here either.
From New York
You want to know something that defines Spider-Man? He is from New York. If you were to write a movie and have him come from Chicago or Boston or L.A., that would be ridiculous. Who cares what race he is, as long as he still comes from New York. The city is as much a character in the Spider-Man mythos as the Lizard, or Green Goblin, or Mary Jane. New York is absolutely central to the character. The good news here is that New York is also one of the most diverse places in the world, so anyone could come from New York.
The real reason Peter Parker is white in all the movies is simply because he always has been white. The only reason he always has been is because he was created in 1963, when all the major characters in mainstream media were white. That’s not the case anymore. It doesn’t represent who we are anymore. If Peter Parker/Spider-Man were to be created from scratch today, who’s to say he wouldn’t be a nerdy, African-American kid instead to a nerdy white kid? Chances are, he could be, and would that really change much about his story? The fact that the idea of Spidey being black in the next movie is even a big deal at all tells us that we need to have it happen. I don’t care who they cast as long as he can act well. That should be the only real requirement. This isn’t changing his race just to do it. We are talking about a fictional character who is not tied to any one race. Changing the race of a character just to change it would be making Thor Black. Thor is from Asgard, he is supposed to look Scandinavian. That’s Blue eyes, blonde hair. It would be wrong to change that for him. Spidey, though, is from New York. There is no cookie cutter New Yorker. This is saying, race is simply not a factor here, let’s find our best Spider-Man and put him on the screen. Race doesn’t matter here, so I am fine with whatever.
Grey Hulk in Age of Ultron?- This Week in Geek, January 24, 2015
If you haven’t heard the latest Avengers: Age of Ultron rumor yet, then where have you been? Basically, reports have been circulating all over the inter net that the Hulk is probably, at some point in the film, end up being grey instead of his typical green self. This has caused quite the stir all over the social media, so it’s what’s happening this week in geek.
Who is the Grey Hulk?
The first thing you should know about this whole Grey Hulk thing is that it isn’t unprecedented or unheard of. In fact, when the Hulk premiered in comics, he was grey. That was the original color Stan Lee and Jack Kirby intended for him to be. Issues arose, however, when the books went to print. The printer had a hard time with the grey ink, and it just didn’t work well. As a result, the original grey colored Hulk only lasted a few issues, before he was changed to the green toned, purple panted monster we know and love today. If it were any other medium, that would have been the end of it. It was a manufacturing issue, let’s just pretend the whole thing never happened. That only works if you are not dealing with a medium dominated by geeks who obsess about this kind of stuff. We need to know why the Hulk started out as grey and then became green. We want a reason for it in the story.
Fast Forward to the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and we get the return of the grey Hulk. Banner and the green Hulk had been separated, and this opened the door for the grey Hulk to reemerge. The grey Hulk was smarter than the green Hulk, and kind of dodgy. Eventually, he moved to Las Vegas and took on the alias of Joe Fixit, an enforcer. Besides intelligence, one other key difference between the grey Hulk and the green Hulk is that Banner changed into the grey Hulk at night instead of when he lost control. Eventually, the grey Hulk and the green Hulk and Banner were all merged together into a new form of the Hulk that kind of took on the best of all three personalities. I remember the grey Hulk. This was the version that joined Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Ghost Rider as a member of the new Fantastic Four (it was the 90’s, a lot of weird stuff was happening in comics).
Why do we think he might be in Age of Ultron?
So, that’s who the grey Hulk is, but why, all of a sudden, do so many people believe he might make an appearance in the new Avengers flick? Well, it comes down to this:
That is an image of the upcoming line of Funko Pop! figures for Avengers: Age of Ultron. This popped up on a website called PopVinyls.com. Of course the figure that jumps out the most is the big guy in the middle. The hulk, and you’ll notice that he is grey, not green. This led to an article on Cinemablend.com, which then led to multiple articles all over the web. That combined with the image going viral, and now everyone is totally bought into the idea that this is happening. The interesting thing is everyone is connecting it to the Scarlet Witch, and that it may not really happen, but be a hallucination. Maybe. Since we’re talking colors here, color me skeptical.
Don’t get me wrong, it could totally happen, but I just have my doubts. What we are basing all of this speculation on is this one image of one exclusive toy. That’s it. From there it has blossomed into a full-blown theory and from there, into a fact (not really, but maybe in some fans’ minds). Different stores will carry different versions of different toys and slap that exclusive label on it, and bam! instant collectible. I fear that this is more a ploy to make money than an actual spoiler. Marvel and Funko know that their fans will flock to Hot Topic to buy this one item, and it will be huge success. Fans of the classic Marvel Comics will instantly tie this figure to the grey Hulk of old, and will want it, regardless of whether this guy is actually in the film.
My biggest concern, or reason for doubt is the name of the figure. According to the above image, it is a “Hot Topic Exclusive Savage Hulk.” But he’s grey. As I mentioned in my intro to the grey Hulk above, he was smarter than the green Hulk. In fact, most fans of the comics refer to him as the grey Hulk, and the green guy, they call him the savage Hulk. Yet here we have a grey Hulk that is the savage Hulk. Unless they are ironically changing the character, it doesn’t fit. I think the Hulk we will see on film will be the green guy, and he is going to go ballistic for some reason, and be more savage than he already was. The grey Hulk won’t make an appearance, at least not in this film. That would be a great story line for a stand alone Hulk film, which would be a great thing to have. In the future, maybe phase 4 (hint, him, Marvel).
What do you think? Will we see the grey Hulk show up in Avengers 2? Or is it going to be just the plain old green one again? Let us know in the comments. We love hearing from you.
2 Follow Ups and FanX Wristbands Arrive-This Week in Geek, January 17, 2015
Good long weekend to you all, folks. I am back with the latex edition of “This Week in Geek,” and for this week we will be kind of returning to the original format in which I covered multiple stories and shared them here. That’s because I have some follow-up on a couple of features I ran last week and this week. One good, and one not so good. Plus, one new story that’s less of a story and more of a woo-hoo.
Netflix Confirms Doctor Who NOT Leaving
Remember last week when everyone was reporting that Doctor Who was going to be dropped from Netflix as of the end of this month? And some sites were even suggesting that maybe the show, along with other British shows, was being dropped to make room in the budget for “Friends.” Do you remember how your friendly neighborhood geeky Mormon attempted to talk all of you, my fellow Whovians, off the ledge by citing a different post on a different web site that suggested that it wasn’t so much of a drop, but an end to the existing contract, and that Netfilx was already working on a renewal? Well guess what those sites are reporting now. It turns out that it was never an issue of Netflix “dropping” the series in favor of something, but rather the end of the existing contract. A contract that was renewed, with no interruption to the ehh…Timeline…if you will. Good news for everyone, including my wife who is still trying to catch up on number 10. Allons-Y!
Spider-Man NOT Joining the Avengers, According to Sony
One of the big stories of this last week was that some deal had been struck between Marvel and Sony to make way for Spider-Man to appear in the 3rd Avengers film. The source of all the reports was the Latino Review, which has been accurate in the past. All fans of the MCU were hoping it was true. We wanted it to be true so badly. I think more than that, Marvel wants it to be true, they need it to happen, as I outlined, a little, in my post about all of this. As it turns out, according to Sony, none of this is happening. It was all based on an old rumor, and no such deal has been made. They are going to continue to muck up Spider-Man with too many villains and spin-offs, all in the name of keeping the rights to a character that is a gold mine, even if the movies tied to him kind of suck. I wish this wasn’t the case. I love Spidey, and I loved the idea of him being home where he blonds in the MCU, but it doesn’t look like that is happening again. I know, let’s just wait a couple of years, until you get close to losing those rights again, and then reboot the series with another film telling Spidey’s origin story, just so you can keep those rights. Poor Peter Parker. (Alliteration!)
My FanX Wristbands Came!
Oh Happy Day! For those of you who do not reside in or near Salt Lake City, Utah, this probably is not that big a deal, so I am sorry. I just wanted to share because it is getting so close now. Less than 2 weeks now, and FanX will be here. Somehow, getting the wristbands in the mail just made it feel that much closer. This will be the 4th major comic-type convention we have had here in Salt Lake, and my third time attending. I am getting better as an attendee with each one. As it gets closer, i will probably write more about it, and probably revise and update my convention survival checklist. As someone who is attending the con, I will also let you know how it went. I am particularly looking forward to our Doctor Who Ultimate “Xperience” which features Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Billie Piper. It should be loads of fun. I can’t wait for it.
Well, that’s it for this week. Hopefully we’ll have just good news next week, and not a downer story like Spider-Man never coming to the MCU.
Is Doctor Who Leaving Netflix?-This Week in Geek January 10, 2015
A couple of years ago, I was working the graveyard shift in a call center where we didn’t get a lot of calls, and on the weekends, we really didn’t have a lot of other work to do either. Our manager was pretty lenient on what we could do, as long as we stayed awake and were ready to answer a call when it came in. Also, during this time, I was looking for something new and different to get into. I kept hearing about this “Doctor Who” show, and so I wondered what all the fuss was about. The only thing I knew about Doctor Who was that it was on PBS late at night on Saturdays and it always looked really old. And he had a really long scarf. From what I had seen as a kid on PBS, it just looked really low-budget and I just wasn’t interested. So, now I wondered about this new “reboot” that had been happening and I noticed that it was getting a lot of attention from geeks everywhere. I wanted to know if it was any good. I thought about checking it out from the library but didn’t know when I would have the time to watch it. Then I heard it was on Netflix, and thought that might be doubly useful for me. Well, I was actually on a website similar to Flixboss and I saw Doctor Who pop up on the screen. I couldn’t believe it was coming to Netflix – I was so excited! On the one hand, it would be an easy way to watch the show at my pace, and on the other hand, it would give me something to watch on the weekends at work, as I could stream it on my phone. I also had one of the htc packages which provided great internet speed, so I could watch it at home too. I was in. I signed up for Netflix just to watch Doctor Who.
I always see a lot of people recommending which episodes to begin with (by and large “Blink” seems to be the number one choice), but I can’t do that. I wanted to watch the show from the beginning. So I started doing a little research into Doctor Who and found out the beginning was 1963, and there was a lot to catch up on, and Netflix didn’t have it all. So I compromised, and I started at the new beginning, with Christopher Eccleston. It seemed like a good place to pick up. I wasn’t sure what I thought about the show to begin with. The effects still looked low-grade, but the stories were interesting. I loved the Doctor. Eccleston nailed it, I thought. He was quirky and weird, but not over the top. At the same time he was really cool. I think because of his cool leather jacket. In the beginning, I couldn’t quite get a grasp on this Doctor character, though. Was he a good guy, or really not so great? Then I got to “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances” episodes, and that’s when I got who the Doctor was and is, and I was hooked. Doctor Who was becoming my new favorite show ever. My new obsession (my says I tend to get obsessed at times). All of that happened thanks to Netflix. I would have never gotten into Doctor Who if they had not had it available to stream. I wouldn’t have begun my subscription to Netflix if they had not had it available.
As I am sure many of you are aware, there has been quite the recent uproar on the internet about Doctor Who on Netflix. What it basically comes down to is this: if you go into Netflix and search for Doctor Who (Maybe it’s in your queue, so you won’t have to search), and then hover over it, a little word bubble opens with a description of the series and some other information. Included in that other information is the “Availability,” which says “Until 2/1/2015.” That has sent fans of the show into a frenzy. No one wants to lose access to the show through Netflix. Surely you have seen social media posts about this and petitions to Netflix to keep the series, but there has been little news about the series staying. We all know that Netflix cycles through its offerings, but it just seems shocking that they wouldn’t want to keep this series. Sometimes, though, they don’t have a choice. The contract ends, the distributing people don’t want to renew, and that’s it. That is worst case scenario for anything Netflix has.
There are few reports coming out now that it may not be so dire for Doctor Who, and all of the BBC programming on Netflix. According to the web site “The Best of Netflix,” a source has confirmed that Netflix and BBC are in talks to renew their contract for Doctor Who. Netflix realizes this is a super popular show, and BBC realizes that Netflix is a key outlet for growing the fan base of the show, particularly in the United States. According to the article, it is not uncommon for these types of negotiations to come down to the last minute like this. The source comments that the talks could possibly bring an immediate renewal, so the series will not be removed, but if it is a deal will be struck within months, possibly weeks to get the show back on the streaming service. The deal, according to the same source, will be a package deal, not just for Doctor Who, but all the BBC properties Netflix currently offers.
So, hopefully a deal will be done between now and February 1, and there will be no interruption of streaming, but if it does go off the service, don’t worry, it will be coming back. This couldn’t come at a worse time. This is that time between series, so series 8 has just ended and we just had the Christmas special, and it probably won’t be until fall that we get Series 9. Netflix was a place to go to get Doctor Who in the mean time. Hopefully they will get it back quickly. If you are concerned, by all means let Netflix know. It cannot be over communicated how much having this show means to people. We don’t want to think that it looks like everything will be worked out, so we can sit back and relax now, and then everything is not worked out because the heat was taken off them to make a deal.
This Week in Geek- We Went Back to Space
What a momentous occasion. 3 years ago, with the completion of the Space Shuttle program, it looked like our days of heading to outer space were through. We were now living in a world where flying into the cosmos was not a high priority, and the funding just couldn’t be spared to make that sort of stuff happen. Most people in America simply did not care about space exploration any more. It was a sad day for geeks like me. When I was a kid, watching shows like Star Trek, all I dreamed about was one day going into space. All of a sudden it look like no one would be doing that any more, at least no Americans. It was just really too bad.
Flash forward 3 years, and the space program is back on track. This last week witnessed the first test flight of the new Orion Spacecraft. This vessel went further into space than any other vessel has since Apollo 17, 42 years ago. The plan is to continue to test Orion over the next few years, and then in the 2020’s, we will send a crew to an asteroid that is currently orbiting our moon, and then in the 2030’s we will land someone on Mars. This timeline is both exciting and disappointing. It took less than 10 years from when Kennedy said we would put a man on the moon until we put a man on the moon. This process to get to Mars will take us at least 16 years, possibly 20. I understand that Mars is a lot further away than the moon is, but a big reason why there is such delay is budgeting constraints.
I am a big believer in the Space Program. I think we need it, because it helps us to strive for something bigger than ourselves. It brings us together in ways that nothing else can. How many people who witnessed the first moon landing have anything negative to say about it? I mean except for the people out there who believe the whole thing was faked (Most of those folks did not witness it). People who saw it were inspirited by it. When we landed on the moon, we began to believe we could do anything, and when we all come together to accomplish something, we can do everything.
I am a big Star Trek fan (A Trek fan, not a Trekker and never a Trekkie), and one of my favorite Star Trek movies is First Contact. This movie involves time travel and has the crew going back in time to the historic day of “First Contact,” the day when Humans encountered an Alien species for the first time, officially.
The Borg go back to this time to stop this from happening because it is a pivotal moment. The crew of the Enterprise go back to stop the Borg, because this is the moment where everything changes. All the warring factions stop fighting and the people of Earth come together because they realize that they are not alone in the universe, and that is a uniting thing. Because of this event, they go further out into space and eventually become the central race of the United Federation of Planets.
I feel like going out into space, exploring, it brings us together. Helps us to see a much bigger picture. We are so small compared to what’s out there. And sending people into space reminds us of that, but it reminds us too, that when we come together, we can do some amazing things. This country needs NASA and the space program now, more than ever. We need something bigger than ourselves to strive for, something that will bring us together, help us to see that our prejudices, our disagreements are all really so small.
Seeing the footage of Orion launch, and seeing some of the pictures that were taken from Orion, it made me proud to be an American again. We were leaders in the race to the Moon, and we can be leaders in the race to Mars as well. Orion may have just been the first step in us expanding beyond this world and possibly reach further than we have reached before. I wish the whole process was more accelerated, but at least there is movement. At least it’s not 3 years ago when it looked like NASA was done for good. For the first time in a long time I am excited about the Space Program in our country, and I am excited about what that might mean, as an American, and as geek.
This Week in Geek- November 8, 2014
It was a busy week in the world of geek. Lots of big announcements, and a few things you may have missed. Let’s take a look back on the week that was November 2-November 8.
Star Wars VII Gets a New Name
In arguably the biggest story of the week, Star Wars Episode VII received a title, or at least the title was made public. The film is a little over a year away, but geeks and nerds everywhere are anxiously anticipating the release, and the title reveal only adds to that anticipation. The name was made known on StarWars.com, along with the news that principal photography has been completed and we may be getting a teaser trailer soon. Just in case you missed the reveal, here is the title in all its glory:
What do you think? Personally, I think the title is promising. Way better than Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones (Easily the worst Star Wars title ever). The Force Awakens sounds great, and I can’t wait for next December.
Toy Story 4 Announced for Summer 2017
Remember how you felt at the end of Toy Story 3? If it was anything like how I felt, it was contentment. It felt like a good ending to the Toy Story films. It wrapped everything up, and it felt like a conclusion, albeit, an emotional one, but a happy one. The movie was hugely successful, netting over $1 Billion worldwide. So what do big movie makers do when a film does so well? They say, “Forget how well we wrapped that up, let’s make another sequel.” In a move that surprised no one, Disney announced this week that Toy Story 4 was on its way. The good news is that there’s hope for this film as John Lasseter is returning to direct the film. It is due out in June of 2017.
The Joker Set to Appear Again on the Big Screen
Reports have come in this week stating that Jared Leto may be playing the Joker in the upcoming Suicide Squad film. This tells us a couple of things, one being that the Joker will be appearing in the DC Multiverse. It makes me wonder if he might make an appearance in the upcoming Batman v. Superman movie first, or if Batman’s greatest foe will really be introduced to us in Suicide Squad. I guess we will have to wait and see. The film set to be released in August, 2016. What do you think, is Jared Leto up for the role?
Final The Hobbit Trailer is Released Ahead of December Release
The latest, and assumed final, trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was released by Warner Bros. earlier this week. This is the final chapter in the Hobbit Trilogy, bringing the adventure to its end. It looks pretty exciting, and I can’t wait. Although there is something bittersweet about the trilogy ending. Who knows when we will see another Fantasy epic like this again?
Is Benedict Cumberbatch Playing Doctor Strange?
Rumors having been flying for a while about who would be playing the Sorcerer Supreme. They have ranged from Keanu Reeves to Collin Firth. It now appears Marvel has set their sights squarely on Benedict Cumberbatch. So, this means, if the rumors pan out, Benedict Cumberbatch has successfully conquered every facet of geekdom. He will become our king, and we will have to bow down to him. Of course, it could all be rumors and there could be no truth to it whatsoever.
Holiday Movie Season has Arrived
Other than Summer time, the Holiday Season is the time for big budget films. This year’s round has officially begun with the arrival of two geek centric flicks. Interstellar and Disney/Marvel’s Big Hero Six both opened on November 6. Neither scored exceptionally well with the critics, but both should be big hits. As a refresher, here are the trailers for each film:
Which one will you be seeing this weekend, or are you saving your cinema cash for being things coming?
ICYMI: THE OSU Does Star Trek
If you didn’t see this, it’s just cool. Ohio State University has one of the best marching bands ever, and what they do with their formations is just incredible. Last Saturday, they performed a halftime show based on some Sci Fi films, including Star Trek. Definitely worth a look and listen:
That will wrap up this week’s look back on what’s been happening. Let me know your thoughts or if I missed anything in the comments below.